Fed Focusing on Home Fix

Fixing Macy's home department constitutes one of this year's top priorities, Federated Department Stores chairman and ceo Terry Lundgren told analysts at the company's recent investor meeting.

"It's no secret the home store has been the softest part of our business over the past few years," Lundgren said. The job will be most difficult at converted May doors, where comps fell below expectations in February and March due to "very weak" home performance and bad weather. Also slow is Macy's North division, the former Marshall Field's.

While Federated's decision last year to convert Field's to the Macy's nameplate sparked controversy in Chicagoland, that change is not to blame for the lackluster performance, Lundgren said. "It's apparent customers don't yet feel they know Macy's well enough," he said, adding Macy's will aggressively reach out to consumers and store associates to "talk them through all this."

Vice chair Janet Grove told analysts the Martha Stewart Collection in home "is really going to be a wow" when it rolls out to all Macy's doors this fall. She also announced the coming debut of another new brand in home: Haven, an "eco-chic" collection that will include bedding, bath, home fragrance, utility, and loungewear. The collection will be introduced during the current year, Grove said.

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